Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Flaw-O-Matic

John Tierney, writer for The New York Times, wrote a column in 1995 about his tested and developed theory of human behavior which he calls the Flaw-O-Matic. In the simplest of terms, it is a device in your brain which immediately spots a flaw in any potential partner. I found this article when I googled "best speed dating in New York City" (don't judge me -- I am just doing research here). Tierney did his research using personal ads and speed dating which is how I stumbled upon the article.

While the Flaw-O-Matic is used in the noggins of people outside of New York, it appears single New Yorkers are the most affected. It makes sense: if you live in a place like Garner, North Carolina you realize that your pickins' are slim and you are not allowed to have a 3 tier system by which you choose your possible dates. However, in New York, with millions of smart and attractive people, we are understandably picky. We have lots of choices. I am no different. I was recently describing to my friend at work the prerequisites a guy must have for me to even consider going out with him. "Ok, so we are looking at the 3 tier system here. Bottom tier contains the 'must haves.' He has to be over 5' 10'' and have brown hair. I would consider a red-head if he were over 6'. Absolutely no blonds. And no girly drinks (I had a bad experience with a date that ordered only pomegrante martinis). And sense of humor, of course. And its a plus if he wears glasses and has a slightly scruffy beard. And...thats about it for the bottom tier!"

"Ummm...I hope you enjoy being single because you're being ridiculous," he said.

"Untrue! This is completely realistic! And that is just the bottom tier. I haven't even mentioned tier 2..." I said.

So maybe I am being a bit unrealistic. I skimmed Tierney's article again. At the end he explores a possible idea of whether or not single New Yorkers actually use this Flaw-O-Matic as a defense mechanism to remain alone. WHAT! I took a deep breath -- does this mean I should be giving blonds a chance in order to not end up an old rotting spinster with cats and incense?? Yikes.

I googled Tierney and found a 2007 article in which he looks at the scientific side of the Flaw-O-Matic in more depth. He explains how a person's Flaw-O-Matic is altered during speed dating because of the much smaller pool to choose from. Interesting... would I be attracted to a short blond during speed dating? I think I will have to make this experiment happen.

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